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May/June 2 014


Is sue No. 7

PAR E N TS and K I D S

Apr i l 1 2 & 13 K ids E x po and Fair High l ights

2 01 4 Bay v iew Y MC A K ids Marathon Webster's Mr. Monson: Our Teacher of the Month Have K ids, Wi l l Travel: T he Big Apple

How Green is Your Fam i ly?

Camping Tips For Families

Rochester's NEW Family Resource Magazine

May/June 2014



May/June 2014



nd J a y a


ur t a e



PA R E N TS and K I D S


pg.2 0 how green is your family?

pg. 26 Kids Expo & Fair Highlights

pg. 1 4

pg. 1

ymca kids marathon


teacher of the month

6 1 . g p

pg. 46 Have Kids, Will Travel

camping tips 4


pg. 3



Kid Activities



pg. 2





ON THE COVER: Our cover photo was created by Keith Trammel of Trammel Creative Portraiture & Itty Bitty Giggles. Known as the “baby whisperer”, Keith captures heartwarming portraits of newborn babies and kids of all ages! Keith Trammel is a nationally recognized professional photographer who has been capturing memories for families in the Great Rochester community for 25 years. The only photographer in NY State to be elected into the Contemporary Photographers Society, Keith’s ability to connect to all age groups...from newborn babies to high school seniors and large family groups... has made him a community favorite. You can see more of Keith’s work at and


JACKIE LECHASE: JACKIE LECHASE resides in Fairport, NY. Jackie has been a personal chef for ten years and offers private catering and cooking classes. JAY SHINER: jay is the Director at Powercore Athletics. He has over 22 years experience in strength & conditioning, fitness, sports medicine, and health club management and most recently spent three years as the Major League Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Baltimore Orioles. In 2000, he joined University Sports Medicine in Rochester, NY, as a sports performance specialist, providing services for athletes, teams and school systems in the Rochester area. Jay has traveled internationally to lecture on strength and conditioning along with sports medicine and has had his work published. As a native of Rochester, NY, Jay is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, with Bachelor’s degrees in both biology (with an emphasis on kinesiology) and organizational management. He resides in Webster with his wife, Carolyn, and daughters Sarah and Kara. HEIDI LADUCA: Heidi LaDuca is a 1991 graduate of Youngstown State and a 1994 graduate of Capital University Law School. She has practiced law in the Rochester area for 19 years, has been a fitness instructor with the YMCA of Greater Rochester for 16 years. She has owned an operated Characters Corner Vacation home since 2002 and has been an Advisor with Advocare since May of 2013. She enjoys teaching spinning classes at the Bayview YMCA, is a Disney fanatic (especially with respect to runDisney) and loves to travel with her family. Most importantly, she loves to spend time with her husband, Tony, and four children, John, 18, Hannah, 17, Jared, 14 and Ella Grace, 6. JAN PIERCE: Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and freelance writer. She lives in the lush Pacific Northwest where farm-fresh food is readily available and where garden plots are the rule rather than the exception. HILARY HAGEN: Hilary resides in brighton, NY with her two children, Tyler and Olivia, and her husband, Matt. in her spare time she enjoys photography, art, healthy eating and fitness, graphic design and traveling. Sarah Jane Clifford: Sarah jane Clifford owns and operates The Gymnastics Training Center of Rochester, Inc., 2051 Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd., Penfield, NY 14526. If you have information, ideas, comments or suggestions for “Kids And Sports,” please contact Sarah Jane Clifford at 585/388-8686. Her e-mail is May/June 2014




Publisher Anthony & Heidi LaDuca Meet the NEW PARENTS AND KIDS Magazine! Newly acquired by All Media Access, LLC, we are SO excited to bring new ownership, a new look, and a new outlook to our magazine! Here are some changes that you will see and some ways that you can help bring our publication into the community to celebrate local businesses, local families and local events! The following are just a few of the themes you can expect to see on a regular basis: Healthy Habits and Family Fitness Traveling with Kids Local Business in the spotlight Teacher/Classroom of the Month Planning a trip to Disney? Cool kids and Cool families - tell us your stories! Coupons! Upcoming Local Events

Editor Heidi LaDuca Associate Editor Hilary Hagen Art Director Hilary Hagen Account Manager Gail Morelle Account Executives Holly Kalb Sarah Katerle Hilary Hagen Calendar Editor Hilary Hagen Printing Dual Print Distribution North Star Distribution

Links to our website with TONS of information on local events Animal Rescue/Animal Shelters and Pets in need of Parents! Here is how YOU can help! We are looking for real stories about cool kids, cool parents and cool families from Rochester and the surrounding area! Send us an email to or message us on Facebook. We'd love to hear your story or the story of someone that you think might be interesting! We are looking for local businesses to feature in our magazine too! Contact us to tell us about a local business that might want to be featured. We are looking for Rochester-owned small businesses. Finally, nominate your favorite teacher! Tell us why! Your school might just get a free ice-skating event at the Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex! This magazine is about our hometown, ROCHESTER. Let's share our stories and make it GREAT! 6

Contact Us! Parents and Kids Magazine 125 State Street Suite 300 Rochester, NY 14614 585.232.2242 All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Distribution of this magazine does not necessarily constitute an endorsement or necessarily reflect the opinions of thispublication.



Dear Readers: Welcome to the new Parents and Kids Magazine! Recently acquired by All Media Access, LLC, (AMA) we are pleased and excited to bring our new and improved publication to the Rochester and surrounding communities. AMA is a majority woman-owned entity whose primary focus will be providing a high quality, family-friendly publication to our readers. We will be highlighting local businesses, schools, and families and we are looking for your contributions, ideas and support! I would also like to introduce you to our editorial staff and sales team. Senior Editor: Heidi LaDuca is a 1991 graduate of Youngstown State and a 1994 graduate of Capital University Law School. She has practiced law in the Rochester area for 19 years, has been a fitness instructor with the YMCA of Greater Rochester for 16 years. She has owned an operated Characters Corner Vacation home since 2002 and has been an Advisor with Advocare since May of 2013. She enjoys teaching spinning classes at the Bayview YMCA, is a Disney fanatic (especially with respect to runDisney) and loves to travel with her family. Most importantly, she loves to spend time with her husband, Tony, and four children, John, 18, Hannah, 17, Jared, 14 and Ella Grace, 6. Associate Editor/Art Director/Account Executive: Hilary Hagen resides in Brighton, NY with her two children, Tyler and Olivia, and her husband, Matt. She brings a wealth of diversified experience to AMA. After graduating from the University of Rochester in 2009, Hilary worked in the legal field, as an Information Technology Specialist and most recently as a Marketing Account Executive. In her spare time she enjoys educating herself and her family about healthy living and fitness. She is also an accomplished photographer and graphic designer. Account Manager: Gail Morelle brings a combined professional background in business development, project administration and office management. She is adept at attracting new clients, and building and maintaining relationships with business partners, and colleagues. A proven leader in the office environment, Gail is detail oriented, able to multitask, meet deadlines, and is motivated to succeed. Gail also serves on multiple Non-Profit Boards and Committees. Account Executives: Holly Kalb earned her Bachelors of Science with a Marketing minor from the University at Buffalo. She worked as a Sales Consultant for an alternative energy company before becoming an Executive Project Coordinator for a large construction firm. In 2012, Holly became a New York State licensed Real Estate Salesperson, working closely with a premier Rochester area broker. She is continuously gaining knowledge in many fields of expertise and strives for perfection in everything she does. Sarah Katerle has a diverse background spanning many industries, from Market Research to Administrative Legal Assistance to Non-Profit Development. Sarah received her undergraduate degree from Boston University School of Management and currently holds an MBA in Marketing from Baruch College. She is also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honors Society and a Notary Public in the State of New York. Do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions, feedback and any article ideas that you might like to see in our publication at! We value your input and feedback and can't wait to make our publication the best local publication in town! ~Heidi

May/June 2014


Prevention of Obesity in Children - Healthy Choice Eating & a Foundation of Fitness

Competition and Recovery Sport Specific Training

By: Jay Shiner Increased time spent watching television and video, playing computer games and less time spent for physical activity are contributors to the current epidemic in childhood obesity. Obese children have an increased risk of becoming overweight adults and have a higher risk of morbidity and mortality. There is a significant body of research showing that obesity that begins early in life can persist into adulthood and increase risk of obesity-related disease later in life. Therefore, along with the increase in obesity, there is an increase of obesity-related disease. The incidence of Type 2 diabetes in children has risen ten-fold over the last decade. More than 60% of overweight children have at least one additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, hyperlipidaemia or hyperinsulinaemia. More than 25% of overweight children have two or more additional health risk factors. cure!

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of

Prevention based activities established within the community and primary care are more obvious ways of controlling the epidemic now seen. Knowledge is power! Or, simple education is a profound tool on the “prevention” side of the fence. Education regarding healthy choice eating and the health benefits of regular physical activity that begins early in a child’s life will carry on and prepare that child for life. For the purpose of this article, two educational strategies for our children include: 1. Offering a variety of healthy choices and making them most visible and accessible. 2. Simply making physical activity regular and promoting variety in physical fitness. HAVE A STRATEGY – FRIDGE, CABINET, COUNTERTOP, CUPBOARD Improve visibility of healthy foods and offer choices. This concept is simple yet effective. Healthy foods easier to see and reach when opening the fridge or cabinet, or simply placed on the counter are most likely to be eaten. Having a kitchen strategy on how food is presented and accessible is one effective way to promote healthy choice eating in children. “Ownership” is another concept to improve a child’s healthy choices in nutrition as well. Have your child help choose between two or three healthy foods when shopping is one form of empowerment, or “taking ownership” for their personal


FUNdamental Fitness Healthy Lifestyle Activites nutrition. Another is to provide more than two options at dinner, such as, “Do you want green beans or broccoli, or peach slices or apple slices as a side?” INCREASED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES IMPORTANT! Getting children moving is the first step in health and disease prevention. It is also important to introduce them to a variety of activities and sports as well. I have been in the health and fitness industry for over 23 years, and in that time have seen very little change on how physical activity is approached for children. Parents and youth coaches often push children to focus on learning and mastering the intricacies of a particular sport or sport skill rather than developing fundamental fitness abilities. Specializing in one sport with extensive competitive schedules not only limits the development of fundamental fitness qualities (that would be developed participating in variety of sports), but may also lead to sports-related injuries. It is noteworthy that basketball star Michael Jordan did not make his high school basketball team until he was in 11th grade! The following is a model for parents and youth coaches on a hierarchy of physical activity and priorities. “Yes” let’s get our children moving, and “yes” let’s get them excited to move, but let’s promote balance in their physical development, health and fitness. In the above model, “healthy lifestyle activities” is the foundation of the pyramid, followed by children simply finding “fun” with physical fitness. It is only when the base is established that a child should progress toward specializing in one sport and engaging in activities dedicated to one sport. I spent over a decade in Major League Baseball. Hall of fame baseball players that became my personal friends in that time could also throw a football with precision or hit 3-pointers all day on a basketball court…skills they carried with them from their youth.

So let’s get our kids to move! Let’s get them to

move regularly and in a variety of activities! And let’s promote “fun� in developing their fitness, which also includes the energy and development from sound nutrition and healthy choice eating.

May/June 2014


Healthy Eating

By: Jackie LeChase

Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Snacks. The basic meals. I wonder how nutrition can be plentiful at each meal. To function, a body

needs to have the correct combination of nutrients. I wonder how I can provide this nutrition without making it too difficult in my busy life. Yes, it does take time, and, yes, it can be challenging. I am going to try to do this as simply as possible.

YAWN! I’m already bored. The last thing I want to be is boring! I am going to try a different approach to the idea of healthy

eating. The internet gives us so much information on health. Anyone can look up nutrition and learn a thing or two. So many television shows focus on dieting and health…paging Dr. Oz…

I didn’t grow up in the generation of kale, wheatgrass, no carbs or organics. My family is Italian, so we ate pasta, pasta, pasta.

A diet was plain carrot sticks, celery and salad with no dressing. I grew up loving food way too much. Dieting was torture. When I had my own child, I knew I had to change the way my family ate.

It was not easy for me. I pride myself on my cooking, but in order to make it healthier, I had to make some changes. That was

the hard part. A pesky thing, called my job, took up so much of my time, ordering pizza or getting take-out was a perfect solution to the family dinner concept. Those things are perfectly okay in moderation, not every day.

I first changed my grocery shopping habits I started in the produce aisle. Fresh is best. Simple enough. We live in the era of

Wegmans; fresh produce is nearly always in season. Colorful salads made with different greens, carrots, peppers… Make it pretty. Fresh herbs and citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, season foods without adding salt or calories. I filled up my cart. I then bought lean meats, skim milk and whole grain rice or pastas.

On my days off of work, I would do my shopping and food preparations. I would steam fresh vegetables and freeze them. I

would wash the lettuces and put them in the fridge ready to throw in a bowl for a salad. I would cut up fruit, such as melon and pine-

apple, and have them snack ready for after school. I would plan out dinners throughout the week to be prepared. Also, many of the meals I made were simple to have as leftovers.

I realize that old habits die hard. It’s not easy to change anything, including our diets. Little by little, I changed the eating

habits of my family. It is self-satisfying to know that I make a difference in the health of my son. He does follow my example, whether he knows it or not. Most likely, he doesn’t notice.



RUIT KABOBS A fun treat to eat - fruit kabobs are an easy and healthy snack to make with your kids. Involving your children in grocery shopping or a trip to the farmers market is a great way to introduce them to healthy foods & discover new fruits and vegtables to try. Tips for creating fruit (or vegtable!) kabobs: • Use a melon scooper for a twist on cut up fruit • Freeze grape kabobs for an extra delcious treat • Try dipping grapes or blueberries in greek yogurt before freezing • For younger children, incorporate early math skills by using fruit to make patterns

We're More Than Just Ice... Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex is Rochester's utlimate birthday party destination. We offer numerous hassle free packages, along with custom party options that can fill anyone's birthday wishes! Visit our website for full more information, or call us today to book a party

424-4625 May/June 2014



Kids and Sports


By: Sarah Jane Clifford

Ten games kids and their grandparents exercise while playing Hang Ten With this game, grandparents and grandkids can head ith the start of spring season, kids need outdoors to work on upper-body strength. They can give to add a fresh dimension to their exercise their arms and shoulders a workout by clutching onto tree branches or monkey bars. See who can cling the longest, or routine. They don’t have to join a gym or count how long someone can hang on and try to beat their buy expensive gear. A great way for kids previous time. Grandparents should pick branches or bars that aren’t too high, so the grandkids can jump down on their own. Everyone to motivate themselves is to team up with a fitness buddy. can do chin-ups and show off their strength and technique. What better buddy than a grandparent! “Children learn Run A Wheelbarrow Race from role models,” says Liz Donnelly, a family fitness speA wheelbarrow race, in which one player “walks” on his hands, while a partner holds his legs, provides multigencialist from Cleveland, who, according to Grandparents. erational exercise fun. This classic game offers an uppercom blogs at Family Fitness Guru. “Grandparents are in body workout for the person “walking” on the ground and a perfect position to [be that] role model” by stressing challenges the total body strength of the player holding the feet. the importance of an active lifestyle,” says Donnelly. “If Crawl Like a Crab the older generation takes the younger generation by Grandparents can pretend to be a crab: Walk sideways on the hand and enyour hands and feet with your torso and head facing up. As you and the grandkids crab-crawl around the room, you’ll gages in little bits tone your arms and backs. Once you get the hang of it, of activity together, have a race! To increase the challenge, find out who can they are doing an extraordinary service to the health and crab-crawl the longest, using only one foot, an exercise game that strengthens the backs of the hips and legs. well-being of their grandchildren,” says Michael Feigin, Run A Wheelbarrow Race owner of The Fitness Guru, a multigenerational exerA wheelbarrow race, in which one player “walks” cise studio in Brooklyn. Walking or biking to a destinaon his hands, while a partner holds his legs, provides multigenerational exercise fun. This classic tion instead of driving, or even playing “Wii” instead of game offers an upper-body workout for the perwatching TV encourages kids to be active. Grandparents son “walking” on the ground and challenges the total body strength of the player holding the feet. shouldn’t “get caught up in technique,” says Donnelly. “They should just be goofy and encourage movement. Stride Like a Giant Before you know it, the grandchildren will have so much Also known as walking lunges, a popular exercise for adults, this activity really works the hamstrings and gluts. fun they won’t even realize they’re exercising.” Kids, try Position your hands on your hips and bend your knees playing the following games with your grandparents. Beas you take a giant step forward. For each step, bring the next foot forward with the knees bent. Play tag, but sides getting a workout, you’ll all get a wealth of laughs.



“Children learn from role models”




instead of running, players lunge as they try not to get caught.

Ball Over The Roof



As kids you will love this game of imaginary adventure where players pretend they are escaping an active volcano. Randomly place sheets of paper on the floor (you can substitute pillow cases, towels, or any mats).Work your way across the room jumping and leaping from paper to paper, making sure not to touch the “hot lava” (the floor). You will increase your heart rate as you see who can cross the room first. This game helps kids develop spatial awareness as they learn to control their body tempo and movement

Skip, Hop


Helping young grandkids learn how to skip and hop improves their coordination while providing grandparents with a cardiovascular workout. Jumping and hopping movements create an impact on the skeleton while increasing bone density. To make it fun, grandparents and grandkids can designate a finish line and have everyone hop forward and then backward as they make their way across the room. Jumping ropes can also be employed either by the grandkids swinging the rope by themselves or by grandparents holding and swinging the rope for one or more grandchildren.


All this game needs is a rubber ball and a building low enough and with enough room on either side to allow grandparents and grandchildren to throw the ball over its roof. Each time the ball is thrown, someone has to yell a phrase, “It’s on its way,” or something else indicating the ball is being thrown. In olden days, the phrase was “Kelly Over.”The objective is for someone on the other side of the roof to catch the ball. Points can be awarded for each catch.

Hide And Seek


Certainly we can not forget the ageless game of hide and seek where, of course, one person, be it grandparent or grandkid hides their eyes while everyone else runs and hides. The objective, of course, is for the eyes-closed person to find everyone else. Maybe there can be a rule that everyone has to run to where they are going.

Kick The Can


Another old-time game is simply kicking a can around the yard. (It might be a bit easier and less noisy to use a plastic can, or, if cans aren’t available use a ball.) Points can be awarded for accuracy and distance.

May/June 2014


2014 KIDS MARATHON BAY VIEW FAMILY YMCA 26.2 Miles and Still Smiling! By: Karen Foster

Have you ever wanted to get your kids exercising, but not let them know that they are really “exercising”? Would you like to watch your kids lead off the biggest parade in Webster?? Then the Bay View YMCA and the 2014 Kids’ Marathon is just the family event that you’re looking for! Over the course of five weeks the kids will complete 26.2 miles to complete their own marathon. This program which began in 2005 with just 12 kids has now grown to over 200 in 2013 and plans to exceed that number for this June!! The Kids’ Marathon is open to all kids ages 5-12 and their families. Events begin with a Kickoff Party on Thursday June 5, 2014 at the Bay View Family YMCA Aquatic Center (1209 Bay Road, Webster) from 4:30-7:30 PM. The marathon officially starts at 5:30 PM with kids running their first mile; bring your whole family to join in the new climbing campus; land inflatables; raffle prizes; food; vendors; splash pad and swimming (weather permitting). We continue to support our runners in reaching their marathon goals by offering weekly training clinics. Training clinics are held every Thursday evening beginning June 12 from 5:30-6:45 PM, at the Bay View Family YMCA Pavilion with a different focus each week including what to wear, staying hydrated, where to run, healthy snacks, keeping it safe, fruits and veggies, and keeping it fun! Race Day is Thursday, July 10, 2014 with a pre-race check-in, group photo, and a 6:15 PM start time for all marathoners and their companion runners to lead off the Webster Fireman’s Carnival Parade and complete their final mile. Entry fees of $26.20 per runner and $10.00 for companion runner helps raise funds for the YMCA Annual Campaign (formerly called Invest in Youth). This money is used to provide assistance for adults, families and children in Rochester and surrounding areas and provides an opportunity for individuals and families to benefit from a YMCA program that they may not otherwise be able to afford because of financial hardship. So, how do you become a part of this great race? Sign up today online at and join us for the greatest race experience of a lifetime!!! (see next page) 14


Open to all ages 5-12 & families


2014 Kids Marathon


Bay View Family YMCA


June 5, 2014 -July 10, 2014 Every Thursday beginning June 12 from 5:30-6:45PM Thursday, June 5, 2014 Kickoff Party from 4:30-7:30PM Thursday, July 10, 2014 Race Day Event - Final Mile @ 6:15PM Cost $26.20/runner // $10/companion runner


Assists fundraising for YMCA Annual Campaign


We've turned the clock back to the days of polyester and four wheels! Join us on Friday evenings for these fun family friendly events. Visit us online for the event schedule and more information. 23







May/June 2014


Have K ids, Wi l l Travel: T he Big Apple By: Heid i L a D u c a

I am brave. Very brave. I also like to think that I’m fun. I certainly love to travel and explore and vacation with my kids…despite the chaos and uncertainty and the packing and the unpacking and the “without a doubt someone is going to end up at urgent care while we are away” factor. Traveling is undoubtedly always an adventure for the LaDuca family. A little background on our unique family. As you may know, I am a mom of four, ages 18, 17, 14 and 6. (Yes, you read that correctly, three teenagers and a 6 year old!). The dynamics of our family sometimes create a challenge create the virtually inconceivable concept of making everyone happy at the same time. Despite this, we aim/try to/more often then not, have fun. Over the years I have learned to adapt, accommodate and often just “go with the flow”… and the end result is usually a lot of happy memories! One of our family’s latest adventures? Manhattan. With not four, but five kids. OK… the oldest is 18 and we brought his girlfriend… so they weren’t technically all mine and the 18-year old may not technically fall into the ‘kid’ category, but in my mind… he’s still a big kid. Here’s a little about how it all went… along with hopefully some helpful tips for your family if you intend to make the trek to NYC with kids! WHERE TO STAY? Always a challenge when traveling to the Big Apple, is trying to narrow down where to stay. There are literally thousands of accommodation options out there and it is quite simply difficult to know where to start. Add to it the price factor and in my case, where to sleep 6 (or 7) little heads? I cannot tell a lie… I almost exclusively rely on the internet for my research nowadays. Google is my BFF. Tripadvisor is a close 2nd. Facebook is probably my 3rd most favorite resource and, in my opinion, a great place to get advice from friends who’ve been there/stayed there/done that. I do not hesitate to ask for advice/experiences/feedback from my friends on facebook and I’ve gotten some great advice there! Back to Google, if you start with generic search of something in the nature of “Hotels for kids in Manhattan” or “Family friendly hotels in New York City”, you will be bombarded with a slew of information, lists, articles, etc. What you will see however is some consistency and some of the same hotels popping up in several of these lists and articles. That is where I generally start. For my family, I generally add in “hotels for large families”. Once I narrow down my options, I go to Tripadvisor, read reviews, and try to narrow things down a bit further. From there it usually/ultimately comes down to positive reviews and cost. Here are just a few of our hotel experiences in Manhattan: Marriott Residence Inn Times Square - This is our most recent and by far has been my favorite hotel experience in Manhattan. We stayed in a two-bedroom suite with a small kitchen area and it was FABULOUS. The rooms were clean, the front desk staff was extremely friendly and helpful, the location was excellent, there was a FREE hot breakfast buffet, and they delivered a plateful of chocolate chip cookies to our room on our first night there. Excellent and updated décor, this hotel is #1 in my book! *Note, I would not describe this hotel as being ‘in’ Times Square, I would describe it as being close to Times Square. It is actually a few blocks away. Le Parker Meridien – one of the few hotels in NYC with an indoor pool, this is a real treat when traveling with kids to the City. *tip: If you get on their email distribution list, you will be notified about special rates and sometimes these are nice. In my opinion, this hotel was extremely clean, had a great/fun décor and was centrally located between Times


Square and Central Park/5th Avenue Shopping area. *Also, the elevators have cartoons playing in them. Sweet. Even better is the “Burger Joint”… a secret Cheeseburger location tucked inside the hotel lobby and hidden by a curtain! Undoubtedly the best burger for your buck in Manhattan. Affinia Manhattan – My experience here was far less than positive. Here is my humble opinion. The two-bedroom suite that we stayed in during 2013 was extremely roomy, but very, very noisy. It was almost as if there were no windows and this made sleeping very difficult. The hotel was admittedly under construction while we were there (April, 2013), but the place was a mess. On the positive side, the room was big. And there was a small kitchen. Doubletree Guest Suites Times Square – OK... I have to be honest, I have not stayed at this hotel, but it is on my list due to the location, the fact that they have rooms that sleep up to 6, and the positive reviews. Oh… and the fact that they serve chocolate chip cookies too! I have friends who have stayed at the Doubletree and have provided some great feedback. The location is smack dab in the center of Times Square… anyway, it’s definitely one to consider. WHAT TO DO WITH KIDS IN MANHATTAN? The easier question would be “What not to do?” There are literally thousands of things to do in the city! I’m going to list a FEW of my favorites and some that are still on my own personal ‘to-do’ list… Keep in mind this is a very small list and you can’t do even a fraction of it all in a weekend, but squeeze in what you can!

Take a stroll through Central Park and visit the Central Park Zoo Go to Dylan’s Candy Bar! Take the Staten Island Ferry and see the Statue of Liberty Ice skating at Rockefeller Center or at the Wollman Rink Do some shopping in Times Square! Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge Go to Coney Island and enjoy a Nathan’s hot dog Visit the fabulous Museum of Natural History SEE A SHOW!

Take one of the many tours offered in NYC~ (consult Tripadvisor) Don’t be afraid of the subway! Go for ice cream at Serendipity’s MoMA – visit the Museum of Modern Art Have brunch at the American Girl Place – and bring your wallet! Google family-friendly restaurants in the City Madison/Fifth Avenue shopping! Eat! There are so many fabulous restaurants in the City

PERSONAL FAVORITES! Now I’m going to share some of my most secret tips and experiences! Shhhh.. Feel free to try them for yourself! Groupon NYC~ On two separate occasions I’ve found Groupons to NYC restaurants that turned out fabulous! It made feeding a large family at a nice NYC steakhouse affordable for us. Definitely check out Groupon deals before you go! Hire a private tour guide~ For me, this was not a luxury, but a necessity. Our first trip to the City with our kids was during April of 2010. The kids were 14, 13, 10 and 2, with the 2-year old still in diapers and riding in a stroller. I did not want to join an organized tour group knowing that there would most likely definitely be both meltdowns and diaper changes. We weren’t familiar with the city at that time and definitely needed the help. The cost for an 8-hour private tour? $400 plus a nice tip. Money well spent. Our tour guide, Heidi, who I remain friends with to date, was FABULOUS! She taught us how to use the subway, took us efficiently from site to site, share TONS of history that I would have never known on my own, took us to secret restaurant spots and most importantly, we had lots and lots of fun with Heidi. A coincidence that her name is Heidi? I think not. We were able to fit more in during that one-day tour than I could have ever imagined. It was fantastic and I would highly recommend a private tour if you can swing it. See a SHOW! This is a must-do for me. I simply cannot go to the City without catching at least one show. There is no way around it, it’s not cheap. Not for a family of four and not for a group of 7. During our trip last month we took all 5 kids to see Mamma Mia. It was great… however, when I saw it in Toronto years ago, most of the theater got up and danced. When I saw it last month in Manhattan, I, to the absolute horror of my children, was the only person who stood up and danced. I don’t care. It was fun. My favorite family-friendly show on Broadway right now that I have seen? Cinderella. It’s not your classic Cinderella story, it’s Cinderella with a twist. I absolutely loved it and I think you would too. (*hint* Cinderella is coming to Rochester in this season’s RBTL lineup!) We’ve also taken the kids to see Billy Elliott on Broadway. I liked it. Liked, not loved. I’ve seen many Broadway productions right here in Rochester too. The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Annie, Rent, American Idiot (*Note, not all appropriate for all ages). The list is long but if I had to choose right now for my next trip to the City it would be Aladdin or Newsies (both coincidentally Disney productions) (Did I mention I’m a Disney freak, fan? Can’t wait to see them both! I just need to save a few dollars first! All in all, there is SO much to do in Manhattan for families! I LOVE visiting the city with my family and if you haven’t done it yet…. Put it on your bucket list. It’s a 6-7 hour drive from Rochester. You won’t be sorry! And feel free to write me with your own tips/tricks/favorites! I’d love to hear from you!

May/June 2014



My name is David Monson and I have been teaching first grade for 11 years at Plank South Elementary School in Webster, NY. I received my Bachelors and Masters degree in Education from SUNY Brockport. At home I have 3 children of my own, two boys, ages four and two, and our newest addition, a five week old baby girl. Teaching has always been a passion of mine and my dream is to help all students succeed. My philosophy is not to just to teach the standards, but also to make lasting connections with the children. I strongly believe you have to demonstrate how much you care about the children in addition to being a positive role model. Along with teaching in the classroom, I am also an Elementary Lead Teacher, Co-Chair of the Reading Committee, and I work with students monthly on our schools PBIS Committee. Doing these things allows me to help organize and plan activities that help students make decisions, enjoy school outside of the school day, and to make sure they are learning as much as they can! David Monson - First Grade Plank South - Webster Central School District







May/June 2014


How Green is Your Family? Ask Your Kids.


By: Jan Pierce

f you’ve attended Earth Day celebrations at your local school you’ll know that “being green” is a big part of your child’s vocabulary. Most children know more than we adults about how to live on earth with a smaller “carbon footprint.” Do you know how big your family’s carbon footprint is? It can be challenging to live with a constant eye to the environ-


ment. Your kids may be able to point you to reasonable family goals. Why not engage your family in a Let’s Go Green conversation?

What does it mean to “go green”? The basic concepts of a green lifestyle include regularly using fewer of the earth’s resources and causing less “mess.” Simply put, it’s taking good care of our earth. That means we make daily choices about what to purchase, what to eat, how to travel, how to stay warm, how to clean and how to dispose of waste. Related issues in the green conversation are ones such as buying locally grown organic products, making some of your own products and growing some of your own food. Living a simpler life means buying less, owning less, traveling less (in fueled vehicles), riding a bike rather than driving a car, and hundreds of other small choices that make a huge difference when practiced by many.

We Can Do Better You’re probably already doing many things right. You avoid excess packaging when you buy groceries and you’re buying more fresh and bulk items. You recycle

and minimize water usage. You may even bike to work or grow a garden for your veggie needs. But there are always more good choices to make. As you talk about your family’s green quotient, go through this list to get your “green score.”

Do You? Recycle as many plastics, cans, bottles and paper items as you can? Purchase fewer items in plastic or glass containers. Choose to carry reusable shopping bags, buy fewer processed and heavily packaged products? Use less electricity by turning off lights, unplugging appliances, and using energy-efficient light bulbs? Avoid wasting water? Wash your clothes in cold water? Turn the water off while brushing your teeth? Inform yourself about toxins, poisons and pollutants found all around us in man-made items and avoid them? Use Biodegradable products? Focus on reusables. Use a stainless steel water bottle, clean with rags rather than paper towels? Reduce paper waste? Use both sides before recycling? Carpool, walk, use mass transit, ride your bike rather than driving? How did you do? What goals can you set as a family to improve your carbon footprint?

A Simpler Lifestyle? Why? Part of living in harmony with the environment is seeking a simpler lifestyle. Look around your home, garage and attic and ask why you own a particular item. Is it valuable? Useful? Does it have sentimental value? Most of us own a very large pile of stuff. We’d be happy to part with quite a lot of it. If you’ve traveled to less-developed countries you’re aware that most of the world doesn’t amass quantities of non-essentials as we do in the West. There’s a price to pay for owning too much— our stress levels are part of that price. Can we return to a simpler lifestyle based on friendships and family rather than one based on bigger homes and more possessions? There are trends among green-minded families to intentionally live a simpler lifestyle. These families swap items such as clothing, books and toys. They take part in planting their family plot in neighborhood gardens. They buy food locally and teach the entire family to reduce, reuse and recycle. Maybe this green movement isn’t such a new idea. Maybe it’s just a return to basic values and lifestyles familiar to our parents and grand-

Going Green for Kids The Internet is full of fun interactive websites on the subject of going green. Kids can learn more about any aspect of being green with a few clicks of the mouse and have a ton of fun at the same time. Check out the following: Kids Do Ecology: This site leads kids to information on data collection and using the scientific method to explore the ecology of various biomes (regions with similar ecosystems). Find this website at Recycle City: Visit Dumptown. Here your kids will become the city manager and learn how to clean up the city by reducing waste and using less energy. The Adventures of Vermi the Worm: Your kids will meet Vermi the worm in this interactive game. They’ll learn all about composting your family’s garbage to enrich your garden soil. Energy Kids: What is energy? Your kids will find out here and learn a lot more about energy saving practices. Find Energy Kids at www.eia. gov/kids Water Sense Kids: Learn the whys and hows of saving water in this interactive game. parents when life was simpler.

What do you think? Are you and your family ready to take the challenge and “go green?”

May/June 2014


First Camp-out with Your Family: Make it a Winner By: Jan Pierce


f your family has a long history of camping and is totally outdoor-savvy then you need read no further. But if your children haven’t been camping before and you’d like to take them, there are some important points to take into consideration.

used to the outdoors. That said, there are so many good reasons to get out into nature; learning about the flora and fauna of an area, relaxing in the company of family and friends and building healthier bodies and minds. It’s a great thing to do.

Much as we would like it to be otherwise, many of our children have become indoor creatures. They don’t play outside unless they’re playing an organized sport. It seems that old-fashioned playing is a bit of a dinosaur these days. There are some good reasons for this, one of them being safety. It’s no longer safe for children to play unsupervised in their neighborhoods. Also the indoor trend is the result of technology. All of our computers, video games and other screened entertainments occupy children without challenging them to physical activity.

As you begin to think about a camping trip you’ll want to ask:

So there we are, with children un-


1) Where? A first-time venture probably should be relatively close to home and shouldn’t be overly challenging in terms of comfort and endurance. Perhaps it would be best to choose a place with bathrooms and showers and maybe even a children’s play area. After all you want the children to have a good time and a Spartan trip, especially if the weather doesn’t cooperate, will only ensure that it’s the last trip for your children. When you’ve found a suitable place, be sure to include some

bona fide camping experiences such day hikes, fishing, boating and the traditional evening campfire. 2) When? Reservations usually have to be made at campgrounds a year ahead of time. Often in addition to the nightly fees, you’ll have to pay an additional campground entrance fee. Be sure to arrive at the campground area as early in the day as possible. It’s no fun trying to set up camp in the dark! 3) What to do? Taking some time to plan for this first camping adventure will pay dividends. First of all plan activities for the drive. A small game to play in the car or games such as “find the license plate” will keep children occupied during the drive and avoid the “Are we there yets?” Plan quick and easy meals and include disposable plates and cups, etc. If you really want to be more “green,” then make the cooking and clean-up including washing up dishes part of the fun. Perhaps there could be partners, one adult and one child responsible for each meal. Remember how much fun the evening campfires can be with songs, stories, and special treats like s’mores. Some of the larger campgrounds have park rangers who will lead daytime activities or have evening slideshows and talks. Be prepared if the weather turns bad. Simple rain gear can be a lifesaver as well as games and activities to do inside the tent if necessary. 4) Enjoy When you’ve done all your planning, be sure to take along plenty of enthusiasm. Children will pick up on the fun if you are eager and ready to have fun too. Be creative—maybe you’ll see some wildlife, or catch a trout or spot a certain bird or butterfly. Once again knowing your grandchildren’s hobbies and interests may help you to plan things they will be sure to enjoy. This is also a great time to share your areas of expertise. Do you know all about wildflowers or can you teach the children how to paddle a canoe? Now you’re all set. Be sure to take along a camera to document all the fun. Kids are certain to enjoy the camping event and all the stories and memories of their first camping experience.

May/June 2014




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Kids Fair and Expo Highlights 26

May/June 2014



Like many moms (and dads!) out there, I am constantly looking for new, creative activities to keep my children entertained. As a mom of two children & two step-children, all under the age of 8, we go through A LOT - which means, a lot of empty cans, bottles, toilet/ paper towel rolls and more. Recently I decided to start using my creative side to use all those recyclables and create useful and personalized organization tools for my kids. My children LOVE decorating shoe boxes and cans to put their arts & craft supplies in. A quick visit to the dollar store and I came home with Dora wrapping paper to decorate some of the larger boxes we turned into bins. Here are some pictures of my most recent creations - try these at home! Your kids will love helping you organize... and what parent is going to complain about that?! 28


May/June 2014


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May/June 2014


SPORTOPIA SUMMER CAMPS "Building better kids through sports" Sportopia Summer Camps are different than other summer camps out there. Our programs are designed to keep kids ages 7 to 16, keeping them active and engaged throughout the camp day. Each camp has a full of a variety of physical activities, but also features a 'Sport of the Week' which focuses on teaching the fundamentals as an introduction to the sport. Sportopia camps are designed and run by New York State certified teachers specializing Physical Education, General Education and Special Education. In addition to our All Sports Camp, we are offering the following the following 'Sports of the Week' this summer - Ice Hockey, Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, & Lacrosse. For more information on our camps, visit our website or contact our Camp Director by phone at 585-672-3830. Join Us for an Open House Event May 18th 10:00AM

Join the staff at Sportopia for an Open House Event. Hear all about the 2014 Camp Offering, tour the camp facilities and get all of your questions answered. Everyone that attends will receive compllmentary admission to an ice skating session immediately following the open house! Rental skates are included, so be sure to bring the entire family for an afternoon of fun! Visit for more information.


May/June Issue